In a stride towards gender equality, Wollongong institutions and not-for-profit organisations are joining hands to support women in the fight against domestic violence.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), one in five women experienced sexual violence, and one in three women experienced physical violence, since the age of fifteen.

Women Illawarra, a Wollongong-based non-for-profit organisation, provides opportunities for women through community engagement and support.

General manager of Women Illawarra, Michelle Glasgow, said the organisation has been at the forefront of raising awareness about domestic family violence since 1979.

“Our mission is to work to empower women and children in the Illawarra and we do this through the provision of support, advocacy, education, information and referrals,” she said

“We are working towards a world where all women feel safe, valued, respected and have a sense of belonging.”

The University of Wollongong has taken steps in women’s safety, by recently incorporating the Greater Cities Commission’s Women’s Safety Charter.

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia M. Davidson said in a recent media release, that the implementation of the charter will place women’s safety as a priority.

“Most women know the feeling of unease when they do not feel safe in a certain place. The Women’s Safety Charter is working to address that,” Ms Davidson said.

“The Women’s Safety Charter places safety at the centre of its approach to future planning. We are proud to support such an important initiative.”

While Wollongong institutions and not-for-profit organisations pave the way for women’s safety, there is still more work to be done.

“We are seeing some great strides forward in addressing DFV in Australia, however, the annual homicide rates of women at the hands of perpetrators have not declined since these statistics started being reported.” Ms Glasgow said.

This collaborative effort reflects a growing recognition of the urgency to create a safer and more equitable society for all.

If you need help contact 1800RESPECT, the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service.

Domestic violence rates among women remain alarmingly high. The Wollongong community is joining hands to tackle domestic violence head-on by providing support, community engagement and knowledge and skills to women in need. Not-for-profit organisation, Women Illawarra have been at the forefront of supporting women, offering a range of programs that assist in empowering women in all areas. The Women’s Patch, held every Friday, is a community garden that provides a safe space where women can improve their gardening skills, socialise with others or just sit and be amongst nature.